October 1, 2018

USMCA is Agreed to… What are the TPA Deadlines to Be Aware of?

Casie Daugherty

TPA Timeline – Administration Deadlines
Because the Trump Administration chose to renegotiate NAFTA under the authority granted by Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), there is a very specific timeline that both the Administration and Congress must follow – although, like with anything in Washington, each house of Congress has control over its own rules, so that could attempt to alter the Congressional timeline.
With the announcement of the deal and release of text of the agreement last night, the Administration has kick started the clock for a series of reports and actions that they must meet. The three countries met their goal of completing negotiations by September 30, in order for each country’s leader to sign the agreement before the new Mexican president takes office of December 1.
Here are the next steps that the Administration must meet:
  • USMCA is expected to be signed on November 29
  • A list of changes to U.S. law is due by January 28, 2019
  • The U.S. International Trade Commission has until March 14, 2019 to release a report on the agreement (this report may be released earlier than this deadline)
While the various Administration agencies are working to meet these deadlines, they will also be working with Congress to draft the implementation language. 30 days before submitting implementing language, the Administration must submit to Congress a Statement of Administration Action (SAA) and the final text of the agreement.
TPA Timeline – Congressional Deadlines
Once the Administration meets its obligations as described above, the attention will turn to Congress. As soon as the President submits the implementing bill to Congress, it sets off a new timeline. As laid out in TPA, the implementing legislation will stay in Congress no more than 90 session days (the “days” described below should be interpreted as days that the body is in session, not calendar days):
  • No more than 45 days after the implementing bill is introduced, the House Ways and Means must report the bill from the Committee or it is automatically discharged.
  • No more than 15 days after the bill is discharged from the Committee, the House of Representatives must vote on the bill.
  • No more than 15 days after the Senate receives the bill from the House, the Senate Finance Committee must report the bill out of Committee or it is automatically discharged.
  • No more than 15 days after the bill comes out of the Finance Committee, it mustreceive a full vote in the Senate.
The implementing legislation is then signed by the President and the implements the agreement by proclamation.
Looking Forward
With the timeline laid out above, it is likely that consideration of the new USMCA will be considered by Congress next Spring – though an exact date will not be known until the Administration completes its obligations first.
There have been some that have suggested that that USMCA could be signed and implemented during the Lame Duck session of Congress. We find that to be a very unlikely scenario; the time frame is simply too condensed. 
Therefore, the midterm elections could have an impact on the fate of USMCA, depending on which party has control of each house come January.


Casie Daugherty

Casie helps to lead the firm’s trade practice, where she covers client needs in relation to NAFTA, tariff action, CFIUS, and other trade-related actions.